Bin Laden’s Trap, Our Entanglement,
Congressman Grayson’s Article: “The Longest War”
The Huffington Post carries an article written by Congressman Alan Grayson, 8th Florida District, with revealing quotes from a speech made by Osama Bin Laden in 2004.
If we were wise, we would read it – Grayson’s article and the Bin Laden quotes.
If we are the least bit self-aware we will, after reading, slap our foreheads in recognition of our stunning and costly foolishness.
If we are wise, intelligent, and who we declare ourselves to “really” be, we will then arrange to extricate ourselves from Afghanistan.
We will ask ourselves who we really are, what we really want to represent to ourselves, and to our fellow worldspeople, and create foreign policy that might accomplish “higher” goals.
(While we are at it, our companion piece will be to similarly match more noble espoused goals to actual policy within our own country!)
Among the Bin Laden quotes shared by Grayson is this: “… it is “easy for us to provoke and bait this administration. All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qaida, in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies.” “
I continue to suggest “anything can be a model for anything else”. Anyone who has ever spent time as a classroom teacher, especially as an inexperienced classroom teacher, recognizes the simplicity, and the masterful effectiveness, that can be used to “bait” an authority figure. The harder the classroom teacher, in such a situation, attempts to “gain control” by “asserting rightful authority”, the greater the success of the trap.
It may seem unfair, even outrageous to equate our involvement in Afghanistan to a classroom situation, but the model stands. It stands because in both cases, fundamental human psychology is understood and demonstrated. In both cases psychology is used in manipulation. The classroom teacher who relies on “assertion of rightful authority” is under the impression that the students respect that authority. They do not. They can certainly come to respect the teacher, but will not do so on the basis of a teacher’s presumed “right” to be respected for no reason other than the ‘teacher role’. (When they come to know the teacher as fair, honest, just, and oriented toward students as real people, these same students may become great enthusiasts for this teacher.)
The United States has stood for fairness, honesty, justice, and has shown itself to be oriented toward humans as real people at least three dramatically noteworthy times in its history: the Revolutionary War and the Constitution and Bill of Rights that developed; the Civil War that freed us from the practice of slavery and its horrors; and our role in both WW1 and WW2, when we joined with other countries, offering our support and resources, toward world peace. Each of these is accompanied by some ‘dark side’ facts, but each also deserves the ‘noble’ honor assigned.
Simultaneously, (the teacher model must be abandoned here), the United States has practiced “empire building” across most of its history. It has also come to believe in itself as “the world leader”, the “unquestioned authority” (the teacher model can be brought back here!).
The line of thought seems to have been “We are so remarkable, so special, so capable, so competent, so worshiped, by so many, that it must be true — We are some kind of Supreme Authority!” (A dangerous delusion of grandeur!)
We’ve trumped our ‘noble’ practices by worship of wealth and power, (which have no relationship to justice, fairness and honesty). We’ve blended “empire building” with “Supremacy of Authority”. We’ve misled ourselves to belief that our many wars of adventure are “in the name of” what we represent, our “historical stands for justice, fairness, and honesty”.
We have felt our economic dominance proves our “rightness”. We’ve become a mixed brew that manifests, as others often observe, as “sheer arrogance”.
The classroom teacher who attempts an arrogant manner to assert authority does not “win hearts and minds” of students. The intended outcome is flawed. The intent of an arrogant attitude is that students will come to appreciate their relative “inferiority”, and, so-realizing, will “bow” to the teacher’s authority.
Sounds like King George III, doesn’t it! (The intent of an arrogant attitude is that subjects will come to appreciate their relative “inferiority”, and, so-realizing, will “bow” to the king’s authority. The intent of an arrogant attitude is that ‘enemy’ will come to appreciate their relative “inferiority”, and, so-realizing, will “bow” to the “righteous conqueror’s” authority.)
We have become the tyrannical force we once stood against.
Not in every sense, of course! The thing about human psychology is that it reveals the “neither fully saintly nor fully evil” nature of how human’s think and act. Bin Laden himself is of course strongly tyrannical. So are the mega-corporations that presently hold so much power in our governing system and in systems throughout the world. So was the attitude of those who justified slavery.
Tyranny is accompanied by brutality. When it rears its head, it must be recognized, must be addressed, because justice, fairness, and honesty of heart and mind, cannot permeate a people and their government when tyranny rules.
But tyranny must not be addressed with arrogance as a prime energizer!
Congressman Alan Grayson is focused on cost in dollars and in lives. All the arguments that need be made toward our getting out of the Afghanistan War can be found in his arguments. I urge readers to go the the article for additional quotes and information.
My contribution is to attempt to point out how our very human natures got us into the war, and understandably underlies all that we do – among ourselves, and on the international stage.
The question: “Who are we? – No, Really, Who ARE we”. Needs to be asked. What we learn as we explore for an answer will explain a lot, including insight into one of our other impossible messes – the Gulf of Mexico Oil Disaster.
If we’re going to extricate ourselves from our assorted disasters, in the case of Grayson’s article the Afghanistan War, and intend to not repeat these brutalities, we’re going to need to know who we, who humans, are.
My Best! –MaggieAnn